Cerar Claims Slovenia Preparing for Hard Times with Stronger Finances and Growth

By , 12 Feb 2018, 16:20 PM Politics
Dr Miro Cerar Dr Miro Cerar vlada.si

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Public finances expected to be in surplus this year, with the economy growing at twice the EU average. 

STA, February 12, 2018 – Prime Minister Miro Cerar argued Slovenia was preparing for a potential new crisis by respecting the fiscal rule and introducing measures for stable growth as he rejected accusations by opposition New Slovenia (NSi) MP Matej Tonin on Monday.

Tonin accused the government of not preparing Slovenia for a potential new crisis, citing warnings issued by the government think-tank IMAD, the OECD and the European Commission. According to them, Slovenia is facing the main challenge in ageing population, public debt and rigid business environment.

The MP also said that only manufacturing companies were coming to Slovenia, while nothing had been done for attracting high-tech companies.

"If ever, our community should be prepared for potentially hard times now, at the time of the highest economic growth," he stressed.

Cerar rejected his accusations, noting that Slovenia had done much to heed the warnings of IMAD, the OECD and the Commission.

The public debt is projected to drop to 72% of GDP by the end of the year, which is around ten percent less than in 2014, when the incumbent government took over the reins. In addition, the government has restructured debt, saving EUR 280m in annual interest.

Public finances have been consolidated; after a 4% deficit in the 2014 budget, a surplus is expected this year, the number of unemployed has been brought down from 130,000 to around 80,000, economy is expanding at double the pace of the EU, Cerar continued.

"This is not a coincidence or only a consequence of global trends," he stressed and added that the government had introduced measures to support the growth, citing investment in infrastructure, science and tourism among other things.

He also pointed to the introduction of apprenticeship in education, linking business to science and education, public administration digitalisation and the stabilisation of the banking system as well as the white paper on pensions and a strategy on long-lived society.

Cerar did agree with Tonin that "we must build up savings now or create a more resistant financial scheme at the national level in case a new crisis comes".

"That is why we respect the fiscal rule and are preparing for potential hard times. And that's why we'll do everything to maintain stable growth with suitable measures," he added.

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